Over the weekend of May 7-8, Samuel Brazeau ran the entire length of the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail twice. The trail spans the entire region from Ottawa to Hawkesbury and was once part of a railway route that connected New York City with Quebec City, but over the weekend it was a driving force of awareness and positive change. Brazeau ran the trail from Orleans to Hawkesbury and back again to raise awareness for mental health.
Brazeau’s passion for mental health began six years ago, when he quit a long career in dirt-biking that began at the age of three. For 15 years, he trained and competed on the dirt-biking circuit, but it was only when he was gearing up to enter big leagues of adult competitions that he realized that he wasn’t happy. He’d been dealing with anxiety and depression for years at that point, the pressure of performing and reaching ever greater heights compounding, until he finally reached a breaking point.
Brazeau says it’s not all about those large, debilitating problems though. Drawing attention to things like addiction and lacking confidence is just as important to him. When he first came up with the idea of the run, he says it took him a month to commit to it as he’s not a professional runner and wasn’t sure he was up to the challenge, but he finally decided he had to try because he was so scared of the prospect.
Brazeau partnered with the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) to collect donations from residents and promote his message. He posted live coverage of the run on Facebook and Instagram, and raised $1,125.65 at the time of writing. Donations are still open at :